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King Hemp V: Industrial Disease

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King Hemp V: Industrial Disease


Rand Clifford

Agriculturalists versus Industrialists

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The King Hemp series began with: “America was just starting to crawl, and hemp was such an essential crop that farmers could be fined for not growing it—even jailed during periods of shortage in the mid 1760s.” A struggle for the heart of America was begun, and to this day remains the real reason for American exile of The King, cannabis hemp.

The American Revolution involved this core struggle between the agriculturalists in the colonies, and the industrialists—controllers of the government in England. In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote about believing our government would remain virtuous for many centuries, as long as the country remained chiefly agricultural; but when the people get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, the government will become corrupt as in Europe.

This struggle helped define our Civil War, one main issue being the battle between Southern agriculturalists and Northern industrialists over control of Western expansion. Slavery was crucial to the agriculturalists because labor-intensive cotton was such a large part of the wealth of the South. The industrialists believed that declaring Western lands “free states” would make Southern agriculturalists uncompetitive, thus leaving most of the profits of Western expansion to the industrialists....

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Victory for the industrialists positioned them to dominate the economic life of America. And for construction of the transcontinental railways, they tapped cheap labor not only from freed slaves, but poor immigrants from Europe and China. So slavery did not go away in terms of living conditions of the labor, there were simply new terminologies applied. And the role of American government hit the slippery slope leading to what we see today—what was originally established to protect and preserve the lives, property and freedoms of Americans from repressive government, slid toward an agency to protect the economic interests of industrialists. Along the way, corporations gained the legal status of citizens; not by a new Supreme Court interpretation of the fourteenth amendment, as commonly thought, but by a former railroad company president acting as court reporter sneaking the “ruling” into the books. J.C. Bancroft Davis slipped courtroom comments of Chief Justice Morrison Waite into head notes of a related ruling, and, wha-la! Instant landmark ruling. Corporations became “artificial persons” with rights of a citizen, plus many advantages such as immortality. Soon after, John D. Rockefeller, father of the modern corporation, created the Standard Oil Corporation. And by the late 1880s, over 90% of American oil refineries were controlled by Standard Oil.

Marcus Hanna of Standard Oil bought the American Presidency for William McKinley in 1896. The $16,000,000 in campaign contributions Hanna procured from fellow industrialists set a record that lasted almost 70 years. Continuing erosion of government of the people, by the people, for the people paved the way for today’s government of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation (CorpoGov)....

Despite his racist views, Henry Ford has been considered one of America’s finest minds. One of his quotes finally getting renewed attention: “There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for one hundred years.”

Ford had firm belief in ethyl alcohol as the fuel of the future, something widely shared in the early automotive industry. Any plant matter that can be fermented is a source of fuel; in this regard and many others, Ford knew that if widely cultivated, hemp—among the world’s fastest-growing annuals—would be a fantastic economic boon. He even made a car that had a body and windows of hemp plastics, and was powered by hemp. Ford was a great advocate of American farms, and he poured resources into creating new markets for farm products while industrialists took the opposite approach, pushing a petroleum future for America. Many bills in congress supporting a National Energy Program focused on the country’s vast agricultural resources as a source of motor fuel were attacked and killed by young Big Oil. Ethanol had many advantages over gasoline, and had been used for decades, but Big Oil had the political clout. Besides toxicity, one of gasoline’s disadvantages was a low octane rating. In classic Big Oil fashion this problem was solved, making gasoline even more toxic by blending in tetraethyl lead (fill ‘er up with Ethyl!) No matter how much the details might change, the story with CorpoGov remains true: corporate profit is all that matters. Ford’s vision of cheap, clean and renewable biofuels spooked early oil barons into keeping oil prices incredibly low, as in the range between $1 and $4 per barrel. Prices were so low that no other energy sources could compete. But once they were sure the competition had been killed off, the price of oil began to soar.

World’s #1 agriculturally renewable raw material

American prohibition of hemp was ushered in on the tawdry ruse of “Refer Madness”, but corporate profits were the real issue then, as they remain. Instead of protecting people from “The Evil Weed From Mexico”, hemp prohibition was engineered to “protect” The People from sharing in corporate profits.

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So many products made from petroleum or wood or cotton can be made from hemp that hemp is a great menace to status quo industrialists. Especially when environmental considerations are weighed in, hemp products are also cheaper and better. Hemp is good for the soil and requires no petrochemical inputs, whereas cotton alone uses fully one half of the petrochemical insecticides polluting us, our food and groundwater. Cotton is also extremely soil-depleting, requiring massive inputs of petrochemical fertilizers. If our farmers are ever “allowed” to grow hemp again, the market for cotton might be devastated, along with that arm of the petrochemical empire supporting it. Hemp would render mills for pulping wood into paper obsolete, replacing one of the most polluting industries with a clean new industry providing a better product at a lower price. Hemp fiber can also be made into various building materials of higher quality and less cost than wood. And while the forest products industry as well as cotton are threatened by hemp, profit threats to Big Oil top them all.

Forget the food-or-fuel issue raised by the Archer Daniels Midland ethanol-from-corn boondoggle, with hemp we would get alcohol fuel AND food—among nature’s very finest of foods from hemp seed (along with biodiesel from hemp seed). Plus, if farmers start growing America’s fuel, the profit pinch could extend from Big Oil all the way to the Industrial Military Complex in the event that oil wars recede. The political clout of those two combined is astronomical.... In essence, American hemp would be a fantastic boon for everyone from farmers to consumers, while gouging profits of a spectrum of industrialists. We remain stuck at the old core struggle, agriculturalists versus industrialists. Unfortunately, the industrialists own CorpoGov.

War On Drugs (and The People)

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Rand Clifford lives in Spokane, Washington. His novels and earlier essays can be found at

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